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"Not just a hobby"

Just a hobby they say......

 

Photography is more to me than just point and click.  To me it's the lighting, the angles, the patterns, the camera settings, which lens, the planning, the discoveries, the open road, the challenge, the people you meet, the way my mind works...and then there is post process which has its moments.  It's a passion, it's a adventure, it's me.  I experience life through my work and try to capture it in my photography.  My memories exist by the places I've been and the people I've met along the way.

 

If I look back to my origins of where my photographic adventure started, I would have to say it was back when I attended school in Southern California.    There I had the opportunity to travel to our nations capital, Washington D.C..  I was completely consumed  and fascinated by the historical architecture and different countryside landscapes I came across.  At that same time I was excelling in my academics, particularly in history, and was invited to go to Europe and the former U.S.S.R..  That took my thirst for culture, history, architecture and travel to a level that piqued my curiosity and for me started my photography.  I wanted to document the places I've been and seen.  Back then all I had was a couple disposable film cameras in hand and tried my hardest to make each shot count.  I can still remember waiting in anticipation for my prints to be ready to see which ones turned out. 

 

In my early 20's I was more into becoming the next Bassmaster Classic winner than a photographer.  I traveled from state to state mostly in the Western Region, participating in fishing tournaments and doing trade shows.  I still enjoyed taking snaps of the places I've been and landscapes from the different states.  I've seen some amazing sunrises and sunsets from the water that's for sure.  As a young buck I thought I would make my living fishing and pouring worms and tying jigs.  I laugh about it now but some of my best times were on the water or hanging out at Bob's Tackle in Norwalk, California.  It was the thrill of the hunt and that still exist today in my photography.  Like bass fishing I still "run and gun" and sit on a spot if the conditions are right.  Also like fishing you got to get lucky sometimes too.  

 

Late into my 20's I picked up the camera with a little more purpose.  At the time I designed and sold residential landscapes and ended up becoming a sales manager for a graphic company in Utah.  Only thirty minutes away from Zion National Park it was a perfect place to dust off the lens.  Around this time editing programs were advancing and I found myself at the local shop for hours adjusting my latest photograph to print.  At first it was about self gratification.  I enjoyed having my photography on my walls.  I would have put my paintings or drawings on the wall, but after all of my art classes I only managed to be able to draw a awesome stick figure.  Go "Team Bob" and PA peeps!

 

In my early 30's things start to click.  My photography was getting a little attention and I started developing a possibility that I might be able to make a living from it.  With that it mind I also came to the reality that I have way more to learn.  Luckily I had some experience with camera settings and post processing with film combined with years of  personal photography, but I still had much to learn.  I started to research more about photography and then go out and apply it in the field.  I wanted to learn what each function of my camera did they so I can perfect how to use them in my style of photography.  My photography was different then than you see now.  I was almost completely abstract which as time goes by I'm bringing back.

 

By my mid 30's I was living abroad in England and fully concentrating on building the business end of my photography.  By this time my skill was at a point where I was satisfied enough to show people my work and I fully evolved into the digital era.  RAW, JPEG, TIFF???  Through much trial and error I started catching up on the times and now it comes second nature. 

 

Now 41's, living in Illinois, my photography is a twenty-four-seven event around here.  If I'm not out on the road snapping, I'm at home planning trips, printing and selling my photography.  I officially opened my photography business in April of 2019.  Before then I was selling almost exclusively stock imagery (i.e. Getty Images, AdobeStock, Shutterstock, etc.) while I built up my collection again after a devastating loss of all my files a few years ago.  NOTE:  ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST 3 BACKUPS OF YOUR SNAPS!!  If all went as planned this website should have been up and running by April 2020 so we'll see how this year goes and where it takes me.  

So what's the deal about the hobby thing?  Well, when I decided to put all my chips into photography it felt like I was the only one that got what I was doing.  Nobody saw the effort, the time, and in some cases my work at all before they passed judgement on my ambitions.  The word hobby was thrown around as a negative.  That's not a job, that's a hobby.  You do photography, that's a cool hobby.  That was just from family.  Meeting new people was the same.  Unless they have been to my house to see my work in person, they assume I just let my wife work while I just drive around taking pictures for the hell of it.  At first I would get so angry that I wanted to go out there and prove that it wasn't just a hobby.  No matter how hard I pushed it was a never good enough and in fact it would never would have been.  It turned into an obsession to prove people wrong.  I just about burned myself out when I stopped, took a breath and slowed it down.  I realized the only person I needed to convince that it wasn't a hobby was myself. 

 

So to make a long story short, my slogan is just a reminder to myself to "keep my chin up and shoulders back" and "don't take no wooden nickels" I'm a photographer.  Now, have I reached my peak?  Not even close.  Way more to learn and see.  So, hope ya dig what I got going and I can't wait to show you what I got crackn' next! 

 

 

- E.J.Rodriquez

 

EJ Rodriquez

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